Case studies

We asked some regular users of TheSchoolRun to tell us about their experiences. Here's what they said...

'She has transformed from a nervous wreck to a confident Year 6'

'I have nothing but praise for your website and the resources on it. My youngest daughter is about to leave primary school and, with your help, she has transformed from a nervous wreck who cried for two weeks during KS1 SATs to a confident Y6 who took her SATs, albeit with some nerves but no more than natural, and excelled. We don't like SATs but can't help be very proud of the fantastic scores she achieved for SPAG, reading and maths.

We have gently used your weekly Learning Journey worksheets – not always, but often enough – simply to reassure her that she knows what she needs to and is used to doing a piece of formal work. Your SATs revision papers have been particularly useful. We have been able to use them at our own pace, to suit her and avoid putting too much pressure on her. The constant, low stress nature of this support has been partly responsible for her improved approach to the exams. It has shown her that she does know what she needs to know and that the exams are not a black art, they are just asking her to show what she knows.

Your resources have also helped us support her, and given us confidence in her so that we don't over pressure her. We may think we know English and maths, but that is very different from knowing how it is taught in primary schools. We discovered your site while researching SATs and the new curriculum for our older daughter in 2015 and found it very informative.

Thank you for the great work you are doing, helping parents and most importantly supporting children and helping them to reach their potential. My aim was always only to get my daughter to pass SATs without a break down. With your help she will start high school with flying colours and, I'm sure, go on to fulfill her potential and enjoy her work.' – Ruth, West Midlands

'Both my kids are now working at least one level higher than the average for their school year'

‘I have two children – a daughter in Year 5 and a son in Year 4. They are both really bright, but I felt they weren’t being challenged enough at school. They don’t get much homework and they weren’t being pushed to reach their full potential.

‘I struggled to give them extra help at home as they didn’t want to do more of the same homework. Then I discovered TheSchoolRun.com and things started to change.

‘As a subscriber I particularly love following the Learning Journey programme and getting the weekly worksheets. I print them out every week for my children to complete and I also do the worksheets for the year above. I also print out lots of other worksheets from the site and I really like that I can give them work from the year above, and sometimes even two years above, their current school year.

‘My children don’t mind doing a bit extra at home, I think because the worksheets are so colourful. My son doesn’t like reading but he’s happy to do one of the wordsearches!

‘Doing some extra work at home has definitely helped both children. In fact, one of their teachers even said to me: ‘I don’t know what you’re doing at home with your child, but it’s really showing in their progress at school!’ Both my kids are now working at least one level higher than the average for their school year.

‘I work as a Learning Support Assistant with children with special needs, particularly handwriting and maths, and I’ve also found the resources on the site have been great to support these kids as well.

‘I’d recommend TheSchoolRun to any parent with a primary school child. They’ll find resources to support children with any level of ability. I really believe children need to be challenged and can do much more than is given them at school. But I understand how busy teachers are and if the school can’t provide the extra work, then this is the ideal site to go to find extra resources to support learning at home so your children can enjoy the progress they make to reach their full potential.’  – Felicia, South East London

'The teacher told me he’d surpassed her expectations'

‘My son is in Year 1 and he enjoys listening to stories and is progressing well with his reading, but when it came to phonics, he was quite confused about why the sound made by the same two letters could change when it was used in different words. He also didn’t understand the difference between real words and nonsense words [in the phonics method children are taught to read non-words such as ot, vap, osk and ect]. Obviously the way we were taught at school was completely different, so I wasn’t sure how to help him either.

‘The Phonics Screening Check [which all Year 1 children take in the Summer term] turned out to be a bigger deal than I’d thought. The teacher went through last year’s test with parents so we knew what was coming up and clearly expected us to practice phonics with them at home. Also, all the parents in the playground were talking about the test. Because my son is one of the youngest in the year, and he struggled a bit with phonics, I didn’t expect him to pass the test.

‘I wanted him to be as prepared as possible so I started looking for phonics resources to use at home. I couldn’t find anything that really suited my needs until I discovered TheSchoolRun. The phonics resources were brilliant, particularly the practice phonics tests. Firstly I read up on how phonics is taught which I found really helpful. Then I downloaded the practice tests on my tablet and we’d do one a day. He really loved that they were so colourful and the pictures of monsters helped him differentiate between real words and nonsense words – and made him laugh!

‘The Phonics Screening Check actually ended up being on his birthday! Afterwards the teacher came up to me in the playground and told me he’d had his test. She said she couldn’t tell me how many he’d got right just then but he did really well … really well! He’d told her that he’d been doing practice tests at home, so because the format was so similar to the actual test he wasn’t phased by it at all. She said she could tell that he’d done extra stuff at home and he’d surpassed her expectations!

‘We just got the actual results from the test and he got 39 out of 40! I am really, really pleased. He got the third highest mark in the class and a sticker from the headmistress, so he’s really proud of himself too. I used to say if he passed it would be a bonus, but now I’ll be telling all the other parents that he did so well because of TheSchoolRun.

‘I’m obviously on a learning curve as this is my eldest child and I particularly like TheSchoolRun because it gives you simple ideas so your child can enjoy learning through fun. You don’t want to give structured lessons at home when they get that at school but the resources on the site are great fun for the kids. I’ve since gone on to download loads more resources from the site. I really love the Learning Journey as it gives you peace of mind to know that you can cover everything you need with just two worksheets a week.

‘I love the fact that on TheSchoolRun everything is explained for the parent: what is expected, what the teachers cover at school; how parents can help at home. I’ve never found another website that does that. Now he’s going into Year 2 I know I’m going to be using the site even more to help him with KS1 SATs.’ – Sarah, Nottinghamshire

‘When the KS1 SATs results came out, they did better than I’d ever expected.'

‘I’ve got twin girls who go to an excellent primary school. It’s not a pushy school, but it does get really good results and lots of the children go on to grammar schools.

‘Last December I found out that one of my daughters was struggling a bit in class and I wanted to do something to help – not just so she would understand the topics she was learning but also to build her confidence. Also, my girls are the youngest in the year so I’ve always been prepared to give them extra help if needed to keep up. I started looking for resources, and that’s how I discovered TheSchoolRun.

‘I love the fact that everything is explained so well. I often worry that I’ll confuse the girls if I tell them how I was taught to do something, as I know it has all changed (the column method is completely new to me!) so having all the latest information at my fingertips is fabulous.

‘In February I started to look through the KS1 SATs resources. I was impressed by how much there was and that it was all in one place: worksheets, the study skills guide and all the practice papers.

‘To start with we worked together through the worksheets. Then, when they were ready, we looked at the practice papers. I knew the girls were doing past KS1 SATs papers at school and I didn’t want to repeat that, so having extra original practice papers that we could do at home was great.

‘I feel it’s really important not to add any extra stress on the girls. I didn’t want them to worry about the SATs test at all. And that’s what most impressed me about the resources I found on TheSchoolRun – the girls really enjoyed doing them!

‘They particularly liked the fact that they could do some of the worksheets interactively. I also printed some out and the girls found them colourful and fun – and they enjoyed spending time with Mum. I never had to nag them to do extra work and we didn’t spend ages – at the most 10 minutes a day in the run up to SATs.

‘I knew really quickly that it was making a difference. My daughter who had been struggling got a certificate recognising how much she’d improved in March and at Parents’ Evening the teacher said how brilliant it was that I was giving extra support at home and to keep it up.

‘They were fine on SATs week itself. Because they’d been preparing for a long period it wasn’t stressful for them when it came to it. It was just another thing they did at school.

‘When the results came out, they did better than I’d ever expected. Their teacher was very pleased with their results, and particularly impressed by the improvement they’d made and the girls were really proud of themselves. It was definitely down to the extra work we did at home.

‘Overall, I loved that everything was explained properly to me as a parent. There was so much choice of what to do and I really liked the practice papers. It just took away all the stress for me and I know the girls enjoyed it.

‘Now the girls are in Year 3 and we are following the Learning Journey programme. I never need to look elsewhere now – everything thing I need is on TheSchoolRun.’ – Anina, West Midlands

'I’d rate it one of the five best customer services experience I’ve ever had – and I’m a tough New Yorker!'

‘I’m from New York and haven’t been through school in the UK, so I was really overwhelmed by the National Curriculum and wasn’t clear what my daughters [in Nursery and Year 1] were being taught at school or what I should be doing at home to help them.

‘I’m very interested in education and believe strongly that, however good your child’s school might be, you have to be really engaged and put in extra work as a parent. My elder daughter is very self motivated and is hungry for learning and we have to keep feeding that, so I’m always on the look out for great educational resources. Then a friend of mine recommended TheSchoolRun to me!

‘Initially I visited the site to download the practice phonics tests, as she was due to take the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check. As soon as I logged on I was really impressed. It’s very clear, easy to navigate and explains to the parent exactly how each topic is taught. The subscription price is very reasonable and I like that it covers both kids. I particularly love the weekly [Learning Journey] emails you get. As a working mum it’s so nice to be sent a regular reminder of what’s happening with them at school and it’s a prompt to do a bit extra with them at home. The worksheets are fun and we can normally finish them in about 15 minutes.

‘In the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check she got 37 out of 40, so I was pretty happy. And she got a brilliant end of term report. She is now at a level higher than expected for her year and the teacher, who knows we do extra work at home, is really pleased with her progress.

‘I’m always downloading resources from the site and will be utilizing it twice as much now my younger daughter is going into Reception and my older child will be doing KS1 SATs next year. I’d recommend the site to working mums, who always feel like they’re not doing enough, because it’s a quick and easy way to check that your child’s learning is on track.

‘I’ve been in contact with the Customer Services team with queries a few times and they’ve been really responsive. In fact I’d rate it one of the five best customer services experience I’ve ever had – and I’m a tough New Yorker!’ – Kimberly, North London

‘He ended up getting a Level 5 in both his English and Maths SATs'

‘My son has just finished Year 6 so he took his Key Stage 2 SATs last May. Around February, when we knew that SATs were a few months away, we became concerned that he hardly ever seemed to have homework and we really didn’t know what level he was working at.

‘As far as school was concerned his reports were good and he was working at a level above the average for his year, but because we couldn’t see any of the work he was doing and we weren’t getting much information from school, we were really unsure what to expect and we didn’t want to get a nasty surprise when his SATs results came.

‘We also knew that his secondary school would use his SATs results, along with some other assessments, to put him in certain sets and we wanted to make sure he would go into the best group and be pushed as much as possible.

‘I’ve tried to help him with school work over the years, but it’s very different now from the way I was taught. I’m never sure if I’m showing him correctly or what level he should be working at – so helping him with something like long division was a challenge.

‘We wanted to find a resource that would allow us to revise all the topics that could come up in the KS2 SATs with him, and was aimed at his level. We’d registered with TheSchoolRun a few years before and had been receiving emails, but hadn’t subscribed. But when we saw that they had a complete SATs revision course, that covered the whole curriculum, it seemed perfect and we took out a subscription.

‘We treated it as a 90-day revision course and worked out how many worksheets he needed to do each week to have them all completed before the tests. We went through them in the order they appeared in the SATs revision course. My son was happy to do a worksheet each night, as he really wanted to do his best in the tests as well.

‘The worksheets were really well structured, there was a good balance, and they covered all the key areas of learning – in fact they were a great refresher for the whole of Key Stage 2, consolidating all the learning he’d done over the past few years. And completing them definitely boosted his confidence in his own abilities.

‘He ended up getting a Level 5 in both his English and Maths SATs (our school didn’t let us know the sub-levels). This is above the average for KS2 SATs so we were really delighted. He was really happy as well and felt he got the results he deserved for the work he put in.

‘We believe a lot of this was down to the worksheets, which were incredibly useful and really good value and we definitely recommend TheSchoolRun to anyone with children of primary school age.’ Nick, North East London

'With the extra help he's been getting his maths is now coming on amazingly'

'My son is in Reception and has always loved maths but he was finding the maths work he was doing at school really easy and he wasn't being challenged at all in his learning. To stop him from getting bored, I started to look around for resources that might stimulate him and discovered TheSchoolRun.

'I've found it really easy to find the resources I need on the site and they have definitely helped him work at a higher level. Each week we work through the two recommended worksheets in the Learning Journey email – he can complete the Reception maths worksheets quickly so I get him to do the Year 1 worksheets as well.

'He was already doing well at school but with the extra help he's been getting he's now coming on amazingly. Before he started Reception my mother-in-law gave him a times tables poster and he already knew the 2 and 3 times tables but he struggled with the others. But after using the times tables resources on TheSchoolRun he can now do the 2x, 3x, 5x and 10x tables! He really enjoys working through the worksheets and learning packs that are available on the site as they are funny and colourful.

'The teacher is aware that his maths is more advanced than the rest of his year group, but he isn't doing extra work with him at the moment as he's focusing on developing his critical thinking skills - so it's been fantastic for me to be able to support his love of maths at home. I've already recommended TheSchoolRun to everyone who will listen!' – Michele, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

'My daughter is much more confident to put her hand up in class now'

'My eldest is in Year 3. She's doing well at school and finished Year 2 with a great school report and good KS1 SATs results. As she moved into KS2, we wanted to keep track of what she is learning and reinforce this at home to make sure she maintains this progress.

'The school use "Maths Makes Sense" and whilst they had a meeting for parents at school to explain the method, it's not a system we are familiar with and therefore were unsure how to monitor her understanding. As they do not issue regular maths homework we had no way of knowing whether she fully grasped the maths they were doing in class or even if she could be doing more challenging work. That's when we started looking around for a website that could help us and discovered TheSchoolRun.

'We follow the Learning Journey programme and do the worksheets that are emailed directly to us every week and find this is a great way to check that she's keeping up – and we've been really impressed that it all tallies with the topics she's learning in school at that time. We've also used the Progress Checks to make sure that her learning is on track. And when she is stuck on a particular topic we pull off specific worksheets.

'For example, she recently said she was doing division with remainders, so we pulled off worksheets to check that she had understood it.

'And at Parents' Evening they highlighted multiplication and division as areas she needed to work on. We used the KS2 Secret Agent Maths Puzzle Pack to help her revise this topic. She loved the puzzles – I don't think she even realised she was doing maths!

'We like the fact that we can really stretch her too. Recently she was doing measurement and we printed off some of the Year 3 measurement worksheets. When she completed these easily, we gave her some of the Year 4 worksheets to challenge her with.

'Anything she does at home I send into school - she gets house points for doing the worksheets at home! Her teacher has said she can see the progress that's being made and that my daughter is much more confident to put her hand up in class now.

'Next year she will be in a split Year 4/5, so it'll be even more important for us to make sure she is confident in maths and can keep up. But it's great to know that whatever topic we need to focus on, we'll quickly find a worksheet or learning pack on TheSchoolRun to help her out.' – Lynne, Northamptonshire

' I loved that the 11+ programme built up each skill slowly but you knew that everything would be covered by the end.'

'When we first moved to the area where we now live, we knew the local comprehensive schools had a really bad reputation, but that there were some great grammar schools nearby. We didn’t worry about it too much at the time though (we’ve got three young children so life is pretty hectic!) but when our eldest child was in Year 4, it suddenly became more of a pressing issue.

'Our daughter is quite bright. Her school identified her as being strong enough to sit the 11+ and she really likes the idea of going to a girls’ school (she’s a huge fan of the Malory Towers and St Clare’s books!). So we decided to go ahead and enter her for 11+. We’re really not pushy parents though, so I told her that if she wanted to pass, she’d have to be prepared to put the extra work in. I didn’t want to be constantly nagging her about it as she’s still very young, and I also believe there is no point working a child hard to get them through the 11+ only for them to struggle when they actually get to a grammar school because it’s not right for them academically.

'School provided some support – there was a weekly class where they introduced the children to the look of the test paper – but in terms of actually understanding each topic and how to answer specific types of questions, that was down to us.

'We can’t afford an 11+ tutor or to spend a small fortune on 11+ preparation books. So I knew it would be up to me to help her prepare. I didn’t mind doing that though as I’ve always supported the children’s learning at home, encouraging them to read and helping with homework. 

'I started looking around for an 11+ programme that I could follow at home, that wouldn’t put too much pressure on her. I wanted something that we could do in bite-size chunks. It was also really important that everything was explained properly to me, as the way they are taught has completely changed since I was at school.

'An advert for TheSchoolRun’s 11+ Learning Journey programme popped up in my Facebook feed. I wasn’t familiar with the site so I took up the offer of a 14-day trial and I liked what I saw. During the trial I had full access to everything on the site so I could have a really good look around and print off quite a lot of resources to try out. At the end of the trial I decided to continue on to a full subscription.

'One of the first things I did was read through the Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning pack. I had no clue what non-verbal reasoning was before, so this was so useful! Then we loosely followed the weekly emails, but I tended to go at my daughter’s pace. I’d print off quite a few worksheets at a time and then give them to her when she was in the mood.

'I really like the layout of the worksheets and particularly that they start with a clear explanation of how each type of question should be answered, which was really helpful to both my daughter and me. It was also really useful understanding what level she was supposed to reach with each topic – particularly in something like algebra, where I had no clue how much she needed to grasp to be able to answer questions in the test. Everything was explained so clearly – the correct language to use, the level of detail needed, and all the answers are provided.

'It turned out that she loved the non-verbal reasoning side – she’s got a very logical mind so these exercises, most of which were presented as puzzles, really appealed to her. She’s also a voracious reader so she was quite happy to do the reading comprehensions. She particularly liked the ones that were based on Greek myths as she’d just finished reading all the Percy Jackson books. Maths was much more of a struggle though, so it was a bit of a battle getting her to do those exercises.

'As the test date approached I really wasn’t expecting her to pass. She was a bit nervous on the day of the test, but came out feeling fairly confident that she’d done well. I’d promised not to look at the results before her when they arrived by post, so had to wait all day till she got home to open the envelope. But we were both so delighted to find out she’d got into the girls’ grammar school she wants to attend! Saying that, we’ve had a look round some of the local comprehensive schools and a few of them have really improved in recent years, so we haven’t made a final decision yet, but it’s nice to have the choice.

'I’ve already recommended TheSchoolRun’s 11+ programme to lots of friends. It was so easy to follow. I loved that it built up each skill slowly but you knew that everything would be covered by the end. I’ll definitely by using it again for my son if we decide sitting him for the 11+ is right for him too.' – Christine, Essex

Read more reviews from parents here...